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Wubbels' Lawyer Says Police Firing Not Enough, Hints At Further Legal Action

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Alex Wubbels and her lawyer, Karra Porter say they both expected Jeff Payne would be fired, but they want to see further action by the Salt Lake City Police Department.

“The trust problem has not been resolved by these actions,” Porter said Tuesday evening.

Payne was caught on body camera footage during a July 26 incident forcibly detaining and handcuffing Wubbels, a University Hospital nurse who had refused to allow the detective to draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant.

He was fired Tuesday and Lt. James Tracy, who ordered the arrest, was demoted.

Porter said she is grateful Payne was terminated and that there would be “absolutely no possibility” of the Salt Lake City Police Department regaining public trust had he not been fired.  

But she says the case isn’t closed and they’ll announce next steps by the end of the month.

Wubbels says without the body camera footage as proof of the incident, it may have only been a he-said-she-said story.

“No matter who is on that video, it tells the truth,” she said, at the same time advocating for every police department to equip officers with body cams.

In a scathing termination letter, Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown said both officers violated several department policies during the incident. Brown wrote that Payne exhibited a “complete lack of judgment” when he arrested Wubbels, calling his actions inappropriate, unreasonable and unwarranted.

In a statement, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski welcomed the firing. She also reaffirmed her support for Chief Brown.

“I am confident Chief Brown balanced the unique stresses each of our police officers deal with daily, and the responsibility they have as leaders in our community.” 

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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